Etched Traumas

Interview received: November 23 and 28, 2016.

What is your name?

Joseph B.

Where are you located?

Athens, Greece.

Do you save any materials digital files, emails, physical materials related to your netlabel? Are you interested in organizing or archiving them?

Yes I do save them. I am not sure what do you mean by organizing them. Does Archive.org count? I’m in the process of migrating all Bandcamp releases to archive.org.

How and when did you first learn about netlabels?

By a friend musician back in 2001-2002.

What was the first netlabel you heard of?

Unfortunately I don’t recall the name. It was an ambient music netlabel though.

What are some netlabels that inspired or influenced you? Or that you admire?

I am more influenced by early XX century dadaists or DIY ’76 UK. I do admire Jeunesse Cosmique netlabel, a Canadian based label!

What made you decide to start your own netlabel?

To curate great works. To contribute to the community with a great digital music library. Meet new people. Collaboration.

What were the reasons you had to choose releasing music for free? And why did you choose to not release physical albums?

When it comes to ‘art,’ all works must not be sold otherwise there’s chance of enslavement. I exclude paid works for special good causes. My netlabel had only two limited physical releases DIY sold below actual cost.

What is the name of your netlabel?

Etched Traumas.

Why did you choose the name you chose?

Due to a long period of bad times.

When did you start your netlabel?

In 2011 October.

What is the focus of you netlabel?

Mainly Ambient / Exploratory / Noise / Electronic. I am open to most genres.

Are your albums released under creative commons, copyleft or copyright? Why did you choose the method you chose?

Yes all licensed under CC-ND-NC. Because of the ‘8’ aphorism 😉

What is your relationship to the artists that you release? Do you maintain any contact once you’ve released their work? Do you help promote them outside of their release itself?

Great. Yes. With most of them I have maintain contact via social media, Email or ‘analog’ mail.

How do you decide what artists you want to release?

If work has no retro characteristics.

Do you approach them? Do they approach you?

Both, mainly the second. They contact me via email or Soundcloud.

Do you have any specific guidelines that you follow? Do you act as a curator or is it all luck of the draw?

Yes, I do have guidelines e.g. on the contact page there are: “We will not accept sounds that: 1. contain copyrighted material or un-cleared samples of other people’s work. 2. support racism and religious fundamentalism. 3. are homophobic.” Also I have some technical requirements with regards to file formats and audio processing and aesthetic requirements regarding cover art.

How many albums have you released?

105.

Who are some of your most notable artists?

Well, it is too difficult to choose.

Which are some of your most significant releases?

Each one has its own significance. I would propose the netlabel compilations because they cover most of the releases.

Do you release your own work on your netlabel? What do you think of that practice?

Yes I do. In the very beginning, and later mostly in collaborative works with other artists as well. Collaboration is my main goal.

What do you enjoy about running your netlabel? What do you get out of it?

Being a multinational netlabel, I feel privileged when I approach artists’ way of thinking on various topics. I assume the gain is cognitive.

What are some difficult things about running the label? Or what are some challenges?

To conclude to a certain cover art. Real life issues from both issues may delay some things.

Has anything about it been disappointing or frustrating?

Once, when I realized that one artist had the tactic to release the same work on multiple netlabels. Even if it is a faux-pas for me. And we had had agreed on that from the very beginning.

How much time do you put into running the label? Approximate hours per day, week or month?

Depends on the releases – mail, correspondence, etc. Difficult to tell you an exact number.

Can you describe all the work that you do on a regular basis in order to run your label?

Email, listen to demos, promote releases on social media, post material online, do most of the cover art.

Where do you share your releases? On your website? Free Music Archive? Internet Archive? Et al? A combination of these things?

Bandcamp, future plans for archive.org.

What do you do to promote your label?

Post new releases on social media, and audio platforms, mail chimp newsletters, selective use of wetransfer file service to certain people.

Do you send releases out for review? If yes, is it traditional media review sites, magazines, blogs, etc. Or are there non-traditional methods?

No.

Why do you choose to not send your releases out for review?

Well, frankly maybe it’s my introvert way of seeing things. I think of each release as a message in bottle in a vast ocean. Whoever would like to discover it, he/she will discover it. Eventually. It’s a ‘we few, happy few’ approach. 🙂

Have you had success in getting people in general to listen to your releases?

How do we count success? E.g. there are 40-50 downloads per month… most of the artists had heard somehow the previous releases. So for me this is success. There’s a cluster of people that more or less think/like/wish/believe or have the same values.

Do you feel that the lack of a physical object vinyl, cassette, eight track, etc. is a hindrance to building an audience? To getting any media to pay attention? If yes, why do you think that is the case?

Yes, materiality is a huge issue these days. Probably due to the post millennium retro-mania. Netlabel’s ‘target group’ is people that cherish music not formats.

Has the lack of a physical object been a problem for any of the artists that you have worked with? If it has how have you responded?

Yes couple of times. The artist was interested in releasing physical format only. So, there was no release of him.

In addition to promotion, publicity and releasing albums do you organize live performances or festivals for your artists?

No. 99% of them live too far.

How do you finance your netlabel, including the labor you put into it?

There are no sources of finance for the main site. For BandCamp: in the last months I have changed all releases from ‘Free Download’ to “Buy Now with 0 cost,’ due to the Bandcamp download credit issues I had each month (ran out of download credits).

What do you think about Bandcamp and any similar music hosting sites?

Bandcamp is super friendly with a great minimal look and feel.

Do you think netlabels are sustainable? If yes, what do you think the future is for them? Should there be more?

Should not worry for sustainability. As long as there are people that want to do something (selflessly I hope) there will be online works.

Does your netlabel align with any political or philosophical positions or thoughts?

I believe yes.

Do you get involved with politics at all as a netlabel?

Not as a label.

How do you feel that netlabels as a phenomenon overlap with any other artist practices cassette trading, mail art, etc? Is there any overlap with podcasts, podfiction/netfiction, or any other art that is distributed for free?

As long as they are labors of love it is great that people produce ‘art’-works.

Are you aware of a chronological history of netlabels? If yes, what is it?

No, it would be great to compile an online timeline though.

Is there anything else you would like to write about that wasn’t included here?

Within the netlabels’ realm, the relations between artist and company have to be based on good faith without any contracts and obligations arising from them.

What questions would you ask other people who run netlabels?

The most crucial one – Why did you choose the name you chose?